FIRST TIME BUYERS’ GUIDE TO HOME INSURANCE
Making sense of home insurance
Buying a home for the first time can be very confusing. You’ll need to research into saving for a house, how much deposit to pay, first time buyer mortgages, moving house checklists, stamp duty and much more.
We’ve prepared a quick, easy to read guide for the home insurance part of your exciting journey. We hope this helps make things a little easier.
Different types of cover
Before you buy a home insurance policy for your first home, you’ll need to know what type of cover you need. Let’s start with the basics:
BUILDINGS, CONTENTS, COMBINED BUILDINGS AND CONTENTS
Most first time buyers have to take out a mortgage to buy the property. Mortgage lenders require you to buy buildings insurance, to protect their investment.
- Buildings insurance covers the structure of the property, the walls, roof, windows, doors, service pipes, gates, flooring and any fixed fixtures such as kitchen cupboards and the bathroom suite.
- Contents insurance covers your belongings, things you would take with you when you move home. Some people suggest that if you tipped the house upside down, whatever falls out is classed as contents.
You can buy buildings and contents insurance separately, but in practice most people buy a combined buildings and contents policy as it’s less expensive to buy combined; and if you need to make a claim you’d only have one insurer to deal with, which makes things simpler.
As it sounds, this cover will protect you if you accidentally damage the building or your contents. The most common accidental damage claims involve dogs and children, so if your household includes either of these, you may want to consider opting for a policy that includes accidental damage.
More about accidental damage cover
OUTSIDE THE HOME
If you regularly take your laptop, bicycle or any other valuables out of the home on days out and mini breaks then you may want to take out “outside the home” cover as part of your contents insurance.
NEW FOR OLD
New for old is a term used in contents insurance policies which means that in most cases any items damaged, lost or stolen will be replaced by offering you the value of new versions of those items at today’s prices.
To cover individual expensive items that insurers classify as ‘high risk’, you will need to list any valuable jewellery, watches, artwork etc. You may be asked to get a valuation of these items before you buy the policy and it’s a good idea to take photographs of your valuables which could help the police recover your goods if they were taken in a burglary.
More about insuring your high risk items
A bicycle is stolen in the UK every 90 seconds! If it happens to you, you want to know that you’ll be able to make a claim and buy a new bicycle quickly. Insuring your bicycle is straight forward: just tell your insurer the make, model and value to buy new. You should always make sure you lock your bike to a solid, immovable object with a good quality lock. The Police also recommend registering your bike with bikeregister.com and immobilise.com, so that if it is stolen there’s a higher chance of it being recovered quickly and preventing it being sold.
More about bicycle insurance
OUTBUILDINGS, GARAGES AND SHEDS
If you are going to buy a property with an outbuilding of any kind, you’ll need to check that the policy covers rebuilding the outbuilding if it was destroyed. Also be sure to calculate the value of your belongings kept in the outbuildings. Don’t forget lawnmowers, BBQs, power tools, gym equipment etc.
If someone is injured or worse, dies at your property; or if their belongings are damaged in your home because of something that happens to the property then the public liability insurance will help you cover the cost of being sued.
This cover provides you and your family with access to telephone legal advice, along with insurance cover for legal costs and expenses should you experience legal problems such as contract disputes over buying the home you live in.
More about legal expenses insurance
As first time buyers, something going wrong at home will be daunting to start with. You’ll want something in place to help you cope with emergencies. For example, if the only toilet in your new home stops working, or the main heating system develops a fault you’ll be able to use home emergency insurance to pay for emergency repairs whilst you arrange for a full fix to be put in place.
More about home emergency cover